Receiving a diagnosis like rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can be overwhelming. There’s a lot to learn about the disease and how it will affect your life in the future. But you’re not alone. Millions of people worldwide are living entire, active lives with RA. To better understand what RA is and how it affects the body, Dr. Jatin Patel in Roswell, GA, Founder of the Arthritis & Rheumatology Center, P.C, breaks down the available causes, signs, and treatment options.
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory condition that primarily affects a person’s joints. Unlike other kinds of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis typically affects multiple joints symmetrically. This means that if one of your knees is affected by rheumatoid arthritis, there’s a good chance your other knee will be as well. It can also affect other body parts, such as the skin, eyes, heart, and lungs.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. A patient’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the tissue in question is the lining of your joints (the synovium). The synovium is a thin membrane that lubricates and cushions your joints. When the synovium becomes inflamed, it can damage the cartilage and bone within the joint.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive condition, which means that it gradually gets worse over time. In its early stages, rheumatoid arthritis may only cause mild joint pain and stiffness. However, as the disease progresses, Dr. Jatin Patel states RA can lead to common deformity, disability, and even death.
Treatments For RA
There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but there are treatments that can help slow the progression of the disease and relieve symptoms. Many people with rheumatoid arthritis can live everyday, active lives with treatment.
The most common treatments for rheumatoid arthritis include:
Several different medications can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. The most common are disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), which can slow the progression of the disease. Other common medications include Biologics, They are living cultured cells administered via injection or infusion into the body . We also have oral small molecule drugs to target RA inflammatory cells now. nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids are some other options.
Physically therapy is often used as an RA treatment to help improve joint function and flexibility. It can also help reduce pain and stiffness. Dr. Jatin Patel believes teaching patients exercises and stretches specific to their needs, and physical therapy can help people with RA maintain their quality of life.
Surgery may sometimes be necessary to repair joint damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis. The most common type of surgery for RA is joint replacement surgery. This involves replacing a damaged joint with an artificial joint.
What Causes RA?
The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, but it is thought to be the result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Researchers believe that specific genes may make a person more susceptible to the disease, while exposure to certain environmental factors (such as infections) can trigger the onset of RA.
Symptoms Of RA
The most common symptom of rheumatoid arthritis is joint pain and stiffness. This can happen gradually or suddenly and may worsen in the morning or after a period of inactivity. Other common symptoms include swelling, tenderness, or redness of the joints, joint deformity, and fatigue.
Risk Factors Of RA
Rheumatoid arthritis can affect people of any age, but it is most common in adults between the ages of 25 and 60. Women are also more likely to develop RA than men. People with a family history of the disease are also at an increased risk. If you smoke, Dr. Jatin Patel says, you’re also at a higher risk of developing it.
There is no single test that can diagnose this type of arthritis. Instead, doctors will usually use a combination of medical history, physical examination, and lab tests to make a diagnosis.
If you have RA, you must see your doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical to preventing damage and preserving joint function.
Living With RA
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition that Dr. Jatin Patel understands can be challenging to manage. However, there are things you can do to help lessen pain and stiffness and improve joint function.
Exercise is vital for people with RA, as it can help improve joint function and flexibility. Avoid high-impact activities, as they can put too much stress on the joints. Swimming and Tai Chi are two good exercises for people with RA.
Eat A Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet is essential for people with RA. A healthy diet can reduce inflammation and improve overall health. Foods high in antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables, are beneficial. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish and nuts can reduce inflammation.
Chronic stress can worsen RA symptoms, so it’s essential to find ways to manage stress. This may include relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation. It’s also necessary to get enough sleep and exercise regularly.
Talk To Your Doctor
If you have RA, you must see your doctor regularly to manage the condition. Many specialists and treatments are available in the Roswell, GA, area. Your doctor will work with you to find the best one for you.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition that can be difficult to manage. However, there are things you can do to help lessen pain and stiffness and improve joint function. Exercise, eating a healthy diet, and managing stress are all important in managing the condition. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you must see your doctor regularly to find the best treatment.